Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Second Favorites

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

We all have our favorites – favorite laundry soap, favorite hand lotion, favorite beverage, favorite brand of tool. We also all have our second favorites – second favorite lipstick, second favorite pair of black pants, second favorite brand of tea, second favorite bath soap.

How did we accumulate so many seconds? Perhaps the second favorite used to be the favorite, before it was replaced. Or maybe we shopped at a different store than usual, and our favorite item wasn’t available. Or perhaps you just thought that you should branch out some – not just stick to the same old, same old.

But, you always reach around it. You never remember that you have it. It’s pushed too far back in the cabinet to find without a stool. You’ve bought refills of your favorite item (more than once!) and still not used up the second favorite.

What to do?

Well, the most obvious choice is to declutter it – give it to someone else, donate it to the thrift store, throw it away.

Or you could intentionally use it up.

I wasn’t using a type of tea that I like just fine, because I like another kind better. I decided that I would use the second favorite brand when I make ice tea, which I drink in vast quantities in the summer. One more batch of iced tea, and my second favorite tea bags will be no more.

I had a lip gloss in my purse that had fallen out of favor. It goes on a bit sticky, but I’m not really sure why it got downgraded to second place. Instead, I prefer a lightly tinted lip balm. My eldest daughter was leaving on a trip and realized in the car to the airport that she hadn’t packed her lip balm. I gave her mine, and vowed that I wouldn’t replace it until I used all of the lip gloss I’d been carrying around. True, it’s a bit stickier than I would like, but it’s a pretty color on me.

I had a lovely tin of breath mints in my desk, which where given to my children as part of a thank you gift. Rather than the usual peppermint or cinnamon, they’re rose and violet flavored. Odd, I know, but not distasteful, simply not a favorite. I took the tin and put it in the car. There aren’t any other choices in the car. If someone wants a breath mint, rose or violet is what they’re going to get. We’ve been munching our way through them ever since. (As a bonus, the pretty tin looks, well, pretty sitting in the car.)

My friend Holly eats her pantry down to the bare bones once or twice a year. The first time I realized she was doing this, I thought it was odd and unnecessary. Now I see the value of it. There’s always a canned good or special spice that lingers in the cupboard long after everything around it has been eaten. Making sure to clean the cupboards out completely was Holly’s way of forcing herself not to waste food. Plenty of second favorite items, which probably should have stayed on the store shelves, got consumed this way. A similar declutter could easily be performed on the refrigerator or freezer.

In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about owning numerous pairs of blacks pants, only one or two of which she really likes. Every time she wants to wear black pants, she has to sort through her closet looking for the favored pair. Why keep multiples of durable goods (clothes, tools, kitchen appliances) when you have a favorite and someone else could use it? Move it along to a friend or to the thrift store, and relieve yourself of the burden of trying to find that favorite thing.

What can you find today that’s your second favorite, and how will you declutter it?

Today’s Declutter Item

This frame is quite cute but I don’t like frames that distract from the picture that is put in them. I am sure someone will love it though so like many other items this one will go with me to the thrift store.

Disney Frame

Something I Am Grateful For Today

You know some days are harder than others to come up with something to be grateful for and that is ridiculous. Everyday there is so much to be thankful for, a roof over my head, a cosy bed to sleep in, a wonderful family around me, food on my table, good friends and good health. And you know, that is all a person really needs to live a happy, comfortable life.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. I like the idea of eating down the pantry, the frig AND the freezer. What a great way to keep from wasting food.
    Either use up the seconds or pass them on! That’s an easy concept to implement 🙂

  2. Well, yes, I do have a favorite pair of black pants and also a second, and a favorite pair of jeans and a second. Usually the second has been a favorite that was demoted for having had hard wear. It is very very hard for me to find clothes that fit my body and my tastes. If something happens to the good pair, it could take months of shopping – which I hate – to find a new pair. I really wish that stores carried a basic line of things, pants, skirts, knit shirts and jackets, ALL the time. So that when one wore out you could replace it. Fat chance. In fact, when I do find something I like, I usually buy a back-up right then.

    I am not so plagued by the other items you mention like basic foods and toiletries, although I always try to have a new one on the shelf when I open the last of the old ones. The last thing I want to have to do is spend twice as much at a convenience store in an *emergency.*

    As I often say, when a woman my size finds a pair of black pants that fit, she is not going to get rid of them until they are in shreds. Not going to find these things in thrift shops.

    • You’re wise to buy two of something you really like since you find it so hard to find things you like and loathe shopping. Doesn’t sound like they’re clutter. It sounds like they’re useful duplicates.

  3. Ann,
    If you are out there reading comments today I just wanted to let you know that I think you email address may have been compromised. I received this email this morning…

    Hope you get this on time, I Just wanted to seek your help on
    something very important, you are the only person I could reach at
    this point, and I hope you come to my aid.
    Because something very terrible is happening to me now,
    I need a favor from you now, I had a trip down to London on a program(seminar).

    I’m presently in London (UK).
    Unfortunately for me all my money got stolen on my way to the hotel
    where I lodged along with my bag were I have my passport, And since then
    I have been without any money I am even owing the hotel here.
    The embassy only issued me a temporary ID until I have enough money to process my
    What I need now is some money to get back home.

    So I have limited access to emails for now, Please I need you to
    lend me about 1500 pounds, so I can make arrangements and return back
    I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively,
    I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I’ll reimburse the money back
    to you as soon as I return, let me know if you can be of any help.
    I don’t have a phone where I can be reached.
    Please let me know immediately.


    …I did not have any other way to contact you to let you know this is happening. I will be out for the rest of the day but please if you have another email you can use, please contact me (I believe you have my email address) and let me know that you received this message.

    Regards Colleen.

  4. Hi Colleen,
    Thanks, I’m going nuts at this end, trying to straighten things out. I’ve been cleaned out of emails, in and out, and won’t be sending any more till I’m sorted! Obviously I’m NOT in London, and if I were, I wouldn’t be begging – I’d be camped at the N.Z. Embassy.
    Sorry for your inconvenience – I just wish I could contact everyone else on my list.

    • Hello All,

      We have been warned about this sort of thing, though I’ve never heard of it happening to anyone. It has been suggested that you put an address in your address book In the event you get hacked the program can’t get past that first fake address. I do not know if it works, but it can’t hurt to try.

      Hope you’re sorted out soon, Ann.

      • Hi Wendy B,
        I googled and without even looking at what the full link said I have decided not to use it because the lead in to one link said it doesn’t work and may leave you even more vulnerable. Thanks for trying though.

        • Thanks Colleen.
          I usually delete that sort of forwarded emails (particularly considering who sends them to us). I did this one because it seemed harmless — and now I’m going to delete it. Will continue to rely on my virus software.

    • Hey Ann and Colleen, I got this from a friend I’d met on a plane once, who incidently HATED flying, so I wrote a stern and firm email back that said ‘I hardly know you, but I know you wouldn’t fly cross country without mentioning it in recent emails, try the embassy!’ Horrible and funny cause of course she was safe and sound!

  5. Your post reminded me of a time when I was clearing out dresses that I no longer wore. Either they didn’t fit quite right anymore or they were, as you say, “second favorites”. I got everything together for hubby to take to the local charity here and he started going through them saying things like “Why are you getting rid of these, they are perfectly good dresses?” (Hubby is a “saver”) So I said, “We’re going out this weekend,
    which of these would you like me to wear?” He then told me he really didn’t want me to wear any of them, he liked another one that I had saved-said I looked better in it than any of these. So I said, “So why should I keep these?”. He shut up and took my stuff to the charity.

  6. That is a good one Amy!

    I started using-up the least favorites a few months ago. I think it is on the archive of this blog, that there was an “use-it-up challenge”, and I really embrace the idea. I also made, and still make, ice tea from a green tea that does not taste too good hot but is drinkable when ice cold.
    A few years ago, I purchased some specialty vinegar bottles at a french warehouse in San Francisco: raspberry vinegar, cherry vinegar etc… but never used them. I always waited for a special occasion. Well, this summer was the special occasion! I decided to stop buying our usual apple cider vinegar until we go through these. Our summer salads never tasted that delicious. 🙂
    Currently the kids go through all the toothpaste samples they received at the dentist office. They still have a hard time to refuse free stuff. So I made a deal with them: if they accept it, they will have to use it. No more stocking up thinking these will be convenient for short term trips. When we travel, I take only one toothpaste for everybody anyway and I don’t want it to be bubble gum or ocean berry flavored… yuk!

    • Natalie,

      Glad you decided to use your specialty vinegars this summer! I don’t know why we always save these things for that perfect, special occasion. I bet your family is really enjoying them!

      Many years ago, when I was a kid, Mom used to bake tons of cookies at Christmastime to be served to company. Sometimes, some would get a bit burnt, or break. She served those to us and saved the “perfect” ones for “company”. Many years later, I would tease her about this! I think we all do this sometimes, it takes us awhile to realize that it’s our families who are special…..and we shouldn’t save our “goodies” for special occasions, or company. Enjoy them now with your loved ones.

    • I’m with you on the sweet tooth pastes. Yuck. We too, take one adult paste on trips, and the kids have to use the bubble gum ones in their bathrooms. Once I cleaned out their tooth paste drawers, and there were EIGHT partially squeezed and used tubes of paste. What’s worse than ONE bubble gum-flavored tooth paste? Eight bubble gum flavored tooth pastes!

      You’re smart to go ahead and use your vinegars. Who could be more special than your own family?

  7. I have also started wearing second favorites this summer in the hope that I could find an excuse to get rid of them. Recently I wore a shirt I don’t much like and asked my husband what he thought of it. With honesty and enthusiasm he said, “I like it. It’s a great color on you!” Rats…..

    • Hahahah Wendy, sounds like you have a lovely/well trained husband! He knows he usually would need to say nice things!

      • Or maybe he didn’t want to pay for new clothes. Husbands can be really cunning some times. Wendy’s hubby can be pretty cheeky as I well know. How is he doing with his waller and keys Wendy?

        • Yes, Snosie, he is a lovely man. Well-trained… um….
          He will actually say he doesn’t like something (if I ask) AND give a reason. Clothes I really like or really hate I can deal with, but it helps to have an honest second opinion when I’m on the fence.

          Colleen, he would allow me to buy as many clothes as I like but between us we have enough to clothe an army at all our extremes of temperature and for all our travels and outdoor activities. I’m trying to whittle it down.

          As for his progress, he has been known lately to go around the house muttering, “hang up the keys, hang up the keys…” Yesterday I was ransacking his desk looking for something he wanted and noticed a stack of promotional plastic ruler/bookmarks that he’s had since before he retired 4 years ago. I mentioned them later and he said, “I’ve been wondering what to do with them. If you have any ideas I’d like to hear them.” Well, when I picked myself up off the floor……

          Making progress!! And now it FEELS like we’re making progress!

          • Hi Wendy B,
            it just goes to show that hoarding (that word seems a little strong) tendencies are a learned behaviour and can be unlearned with the right guidance. You are clearly a wonderful guide. You have your hubby going from collector/keeper of all things to wondering what is the best way to pass something on. Well done to both of you.

            It is hard not to have a large stash of clothes when you live in a climate of extremes and participate in a wide range of activities. Better to have that large stash than live a boring sedentary life so it sounds like a good trade off to me.

    • Hi Wendy,
      I have been doing this with my winter clothes because I really do not like the fashions this year. I am afraid I don’t much like some of the fashions in my closet either but at least they are already paid for. Why trade one bad thing for another. I will stick with what I have for now and hope that next Winter the designers will have better fashion sense.

    • Or maybe you need a new perscpective on your shirt. It could be the most flattering one you own!

  8. Re the email hacking prob. My hubby had this with his account. You just need to change your email password. It seemed to work in his case.


    • Thank you Luisa,
      I think I might change my email password just to be on the safe side. This is actually something you should do with all your passwords on a regular basis. I would never remember them all if I did that.

  9. Second favorites are a serious hazard. I am right now wearing my favorite jeans… I have 7 pairs of jeans that I have kept for one reason or another (exceptionally comfy, stylish, tough, etc..) but 9 times out of 10 I will grab this pair… they are the perfect length, fit snug without binding and are a neutral tone… I will be heartbroken when they are worn out.

    Actually I have 2nd faves excuses for LOTS of different things in lots of different categories! I better get to it and get them outa here one way or another.

    • Hi Creative Me,
      second favourites are alright to keep if you are still using them. I am like you I have 4 pair of jeans but two favourites, both Calvin Klein ones of the same style. I bought them when I used to wear jeans to work everyday. They are soooooo comfy but they may not last another season because they have just about had it. I did have a third pair of the same jeans but they went to God earlier in the season.

  10. We recently used up the contents of the fridge and freezer before going on a long vacation. We were especially lucky since we didn’t have to worry about hurricane irene knocking out our power and spoiling our food!

    I love the insight on second favorites – sometimes its just not worth saving things for a rainy day. Chances are you won’t love them more just because its raining!

    • Hi Annie,
      That was a smart move and a fortunate one as it turns out. I loved what you said about saving things for a rainy day, so much so that I quoted you on Facebook and Twitter.

  11. I know I am in an archive piece but just had to comment anyway. I have lost about 30 lbs in the last 2 years and need new summer shorts. Last year, I wore the old ones though they were slightly baggy but this year, just too big. I am going to try everything on and make sure that none fit and then give them to Goodwill. They are still nice but baggy. Then, I can get a few basic pairs – perhaps grey, black, navy and cream and nothing else. I usually wear old gymshorts around the house on the weekends and only need decent ones for going out. Less is more.